The National Transportation Safety Board may take another look at the Day the Music Died. The board tweeted Wednesday morning that it was officially reviewing a petition calling for the reopening of an investigation into the 1959 plane crash that killed rock 'n' roll artists Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J. P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson.
The regulations state that petitions "will be entertained only if based on the discovery of new evidence or on showing that the board's findings are erroneous." The Civil Aeronautics Board ruled decades ago that the plane crashed due to pilot error and snow, according to the Associated Press.
But L.J. Coon, the pilot behind the petition, argued that there were other issues with the rate of the plane's climb, the fuel gauge, weight calculations and a passenger-side rudder pedal. The Globe Gazette of Mason City, Iowa, reported that Coon wrote to the safety board to express his concerns and recently received a response.
We are reviewing the petition to reconsider the Buddy Holly crash, based on criteria in our regs: http://t.co/XqjVfAfxgQ
— NTSB (@NTSB) March 4, 2015
"You have gotten our attention," the letter read. "Let us do our due diligence in order to give you a proper answer." But getting that answer could take up to a year. The safety board typically reopens fewer than five cases a year, according to the New York Daily News.
The Feb. 3, 1959, crash killed the three up-and-coming musicians, who were flying in the Beechcraft Bonanza plane from Clear Lake, Iowa, to Moorhead, Minnesota, the next stop on their Winter Dance Party Tour. It crashed four minutes after takeoff, killing them and pilot Roger Peterson.
The incident came to be called "The Day the Music Died" after it was referenced in Don McLean's 1971 song "American Pie."
The crash was analyzed as recently as 2007, when Richardson's son exhumed his dad's body to quiet rumors that the pilot may have been shot and Richardson had tried to get help on the ground. Experts in 2007 debunked the theory, saying Richardson died on impact.
Read the full text of the 1959 accident report here.